Administrative Fellowship

UAB Medicine (University of Alabama at Birmingham) is an academic health center located in Birmingham, Alabama. At UAB, we pride ourselves as being the premier medical facility in the state and region, with healthcare professionals who are second to none.

As one of U.S. News and World Report's Best Hospitals and a winner of the Women's Choice award, UAB is a national leader in patient care, research, and training. Medical professionals from around the nation look to us to be in the vanguard of medicine, and we deliver on that expectation. Patients look to us for hope when in medical distress, and our nurses and medical staff exceed expectations in providing the highest quality of care, always with the patients and their families in mind.



UAB Medicine offers two unique fellowship opportunities: Hospital Operations and Clinical Practice Transformation. From the beginning of each two-year fellowship, the fellow is incorporated into the executive team, respective to their focus area. Each fellowship offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary experience which consists of rotations and a diverse set of projects.

Under the guidance of an executive sponsor, preceptor, and a council of mentors, this two-year experience is tailored to meet each fellows’ needs and interests, while developing them to be a well-versed healthcare leader. Our goal is to foster critical thinking, process improvement, emotional intelligence, communication skills, strategic thinking, and other competencies to develop and build upon the fellows’ existing foundation which will support them throughout their healthcare administration careers.

  • Possible Rotations
    • Quality (CMO), Space Planning, Nursing Leadership (CNO), Strategic Planning, Patient Experience, Clinical Network Development
  • Executive Sponsor
    • Anthony Patterson, Senior Vice President of Inpatient Services
  • Preceptor
    • Arpan Limdi, Vice President of Clinical Operations & Chief Facilities Officer
  • Possible Rotations
    • Performance Excellence & Performance Improvement, Office of the Chief Physician Executive
  • Executive Sponsors
    • Reid Jones, Chief Operating Officer of UAB Health System
    • Dr. Tony Jones, Chief Physician Executive
  • Preceptor
    • Dr. Rick van Pelt, Vice President of Clinical Practice Transformation

Fellows have the opportunity to attend board, planning, executive, and staff meetings; additionally, they are exposed to operational, strategic, and governance issues and decision-making. Fellows are integrated into activities and projects across UAB Medicine offering a breadth of understanding into the functioning of an academic medical center (AMC). Through this experience, fellows are exposed to the internal and external forces shaping UAB Medicine, healthcare in the state of Alabama, and the nation. Each fellowship allows the opportunity to experience the operations and management of a large, nationally recognized AMC, as well as the flexibility to accommodate personal interests within a framework of continuous learning.

The fellow will be offered a competitive salary and benefits package for the duration of the program. Reimbursement is provided for one healthcare conference of choice during the 24-month program. Additionally, relocation assistance may be available.


Application Dates and Timeline

  • Application Deadline: October 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM
  • Skype/Phone Interview: Early October 2020
  • On-site Interview: Late October-Early November 2020
  • Official Acceptance Date: November 12, 2020
  • Start Date: Late May-Early June 2021


  • Graduate of OR has successfully completed all on-campus didactic requirements of a Masters level program with an interest in practicing in Healthcare Administration
  • Masters in Healthcare or Business preferred

Application Materials

  • Current resume/CV
  • Official graduate school transcript
  • Three letters of recommendation:
    • 1 - Academic
    • 2 - Professional
    • 3 - Other
  • Cover letter addressed to Administrative Fellowship Selection Committee:
    • What makes UAB Medicine the ideal place for you and why are you pursuing this particular fellowship with hospital operations, academic medicine/ambulatory operations, healthcare finance, or clinical practice transformation?
  • Personal statement addressing the following questions (2 page maximum):
    • What makes UAB Medicine the ideal place for you?
    • How do you exhibit UAB Medicine’s values: Always Care, Own It, Work Together, and Do Right?
    • Why are you pursuing this particular fellowship with hospital operations or clinical practice transformation?
    • What are your expected outcomes of the fellowship?

Note: We are unable to provide visa sponsorship for individuals participating in UAB Medicine's Administrative Fellowships.



Esther Grubbe – Hospital Operations Fellow
Esther Grubbe is the current Hospital Operations Administrative Fellow for 2019-2021. Esther graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration. While at Auburn, Esther held various leadership positions, most notably, serving as the President of the Health and Hospital Administration Organization (HHAO). She also worked in outpatient private practices throughout her education.

After graduating from Auburn, Esther attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where she graduated with her Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Health Administration. Esther pursued the UAB Hospital Operations Administrative Fellowship to gain a deeper understanding of academic medicine and inpatient operations.

Morgan Gaghen – Hospital Operations Fellow
Morgan is the UAB Medicine Hospital Administration Fellow for 2020-2022. Originally from Gadsden, Ala., Morgan completed her Master of Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2019. She found her interest in health care while working at an outpatient physician practice during high school. She earned an Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy in 2013 from Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala. Morgan practiced at UAB Medicine for 5 years as an occupational therapy assistant in the acute care hospital setting.

After completing her Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management at UAB in 2018, she decided to pursue her MBA and MSHA. She will complete her Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from UAB in spring 2021. While working toward her master’s degrees, she has had the opportunity to work in Supply Chain & Support Services at UAB Hospital and UAB Hospital-Highlands. Morgan’s interest in academic medical center operations led her to pursue the UAB Hospital Administrative Fellowship.

Carlie Dobbins – Clinical Practice Transformation Fellow
Carlie is the UAB Medicine Administrative Fellow with the Clinical Practice Transformation team for 2020-2022. She is originally from Memphis, Tenn., but completed her education in Los Angeles. She received her undergraduate degree in biology from Pepperdine University and her Master in Health Administration from the University of Southern California. Before beginning her fellowship at UAB Medicine, she completed a one-year administrative residency at Providence, a large integrated delivery system that spans six states.

Carlie started out in health care as a certified nursing assistant in a residential behavioral health treatment center. She continued to work in this setting for four years while completing her education, transitioning into an administrative role after time. She attributes her experience working directly with patients and clinicians to her interest in clinical practice transformation. Carlie is grateful for this opportunity and looks forward to learning from the many facets of UAB Medicine.

Cayla Hurst – Academic Medicine/Ambulatory Operations Fellow
Cayla Hurst is the UAB Medicine Academic Medicine and Ambulatory Operations Fellow for 2020-2022. She is originally from Lake Ridge, Va., where her family still lives. Cayla graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Public Health and a Certificate in Health Communications. She then began attending Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she earned a Master of Business Administration and will graduate in spring 2021 with her Master of Health Services Administration. Cayla gathered experience working in outpatient private practices throughout her education.

Cayla pursued the Academic Medicine and Ambulatory Operations Fellowship to gain experience at a comprehensive academic health medical center, while learning more about various service lines across ambulatory operations.

Kevin Sommers – Healthcare Finance Fellow
Kevin is the UAB Medicine Administrative Finance Fellow for 2020-2022. He was born and raised in Huntsville, Ala., and graduated from Auburn University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accounting. At Auburn, Kevin was involved with and held leadership positions in various extracurricular activities, including the Student Government Association and Student Alumni Association. He completed internships in audit and assurance with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Birmingham, finance with a large non-profit health system in Huntsville, and health care consulting with Dixon Hughes Goodman in Nashville, Tenn.

After graduating from Auburn, Kevin pursued his Master of Business Administration (2020) and will graduate with his Master of Science in Health Administration in 2021, both at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The ability to learn from experienced finance leaders while being immersed in both academic and health system affairs brought Kevin to UAB Medicine.


The UAB Medicine Administrative Fellowships prepare trainees for success in a variety of areas in healthcare management. Many fellows stay within UAB Health System after completion of the fellowships. 

  • Jessica Zeller - Planning Director, UAB Health System
  • Dawson Smith - Director, Network Development and Affiliations, UAB Health System
  • Nisha Patel - Executive Director of Operations, Wellness and Administration, UAB School of Medicine
  • Frank Sortino - Operations Administrator, UAB Hospital-Highlands
  • Mark Wiersma - Director, Strategic Initiatives, UAB Health System
  • Anisa Xhaja - Director, Clinical Practice Transformation, UAB Health System
  • Lee Hammonds - Associate Vice President, UAB Medicine
  • Martin Smith - Operations Administrator, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital
  • Brian Berthiaume - Director, Transplant Operations, UAB Medicine
  • Jordan DeMoss - Vice President Clinical Operations, UAB Hospital
  • Melissa Mancini - Associate Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, UAB Health System
  • Ragan Manning - Senior Director, Resource Utilization, UAB Hospital


The Hospital Operations Internship at UAB Medicine provides qualified individuals with a comprehensive experience in health care management to complement and enhance the foundations of their academic programs. The position is a paid 12-week commitment. Interns are integrated into hospital leadership teams and given hands-on projects that reflect strategic priorities as well as their interests. Attendance and participation in departmental and senior management meetings are encouraged. The ultimate goal is to gain a valuable professional experience while engaging in UAB’s mission and values and demonstrating leadership potential.

Project Work to Support a Learning Experience

  • Support the functions of the inpatient leadership team as assigned by the preceptor.
  • Take ownership of and play an active role in projects directly related to operational and strategic goals of the inpatient team, i.e. driving revenue, decreasing costs, and improving patient throughput.
  • Provide oral and written communications to convey ideas, reports, and other deliverables. 
  • Shadow in clinical areas and support services.
  • Attend leadership meetings and participate in employee engagement initiatives.


  • Arpan Limdi, Vice President of Clinical Operations & Chief Facilities Officer

Application Dates and Timeline

  • Applications due late January 2021
  • Interviews to be scheduled for early to mid-February 2021
  • Start and end dates are somewhat flexible for the 12-week internship


  • Completed Bachelor’s degree and enrolled in a Masters level program with an interest in practicing in Healthcare Administration

Application Materials

  • Current resume/CV
  • Cover letter

Please contact if you have any additional questions regarding the Hospital Operations Internship.